Photography and Words By John Zhang / 1013MM
As car enthusiasts, we all have a story that we could tell about the very first time we were introduced to cars. For Igor Polishchuk, owner of wildly-successful CAtuned Motorsports, his initial introduction to cars came from his family. From a very early age, his family would travel across the country. His father, who was a toolman by trade, would work with Polishchuk whenever the family car or van would have problems along the way. As a result of this indirect apprenticeship, Polishchuk was taught about the inner workings of cars and how to repair them just as he did computers as a computer major college graduate.
By August 2002, Polishchuk decided that he wanted a place to tinker with cars during his spare time. He was already a working professional and just wanted a garage-style man cave. Coincidentally, this yearning for a space directly led to the birth of CAtuned Motorsports, with an $800 loan and blessing from the man that introduced him to cars in the first place – his father.
The thought in the beginning was to resell go-fast parts, bolt-on performance kits and flip a few cars for profit. It also served as a place where Polishchuk could work on his late model BMW E30 sedan he had acquired while he was still a working professional in the computer industry. Since churning revenue with CAtuned wasn’t the main goal, Polishchuk was free to learn more about cars and develop an even deeper understanding. Admittedly, at the time, he says he did not know even two percent of what he’s learned since. Eventually, working on cars consumed his life, and that’s when he decided to leave his day job to transform CAtuned Motorsports into an actual business to get serious in the automotive repair, restoration, and development industry.
The CAtuned Motorsports 10,000 square foot facility is located in a quiet industrial section in Sacramento, California. As we stepped inside, we were greeted with an intuitive maze of all things automotive before we made our way to the actual shop, lifts, and cars. The main reception area was sparse, yet provided a preview of what to expect before stepping into the back. The walls were decorated with numerous CAtuned Motorsports-serviced vehicles that Polishchuk and his team have personally contributed to over the years. Just by these features alone, any visitor could tell that Polishchuk works on a niche market of the automotive industry.
For the most part, Polishchuk has his roots in older generation BMWs. His work on them is world-renowned – the 170,000-plus Instagram followers of the CAtuned account who hang on the shop’s every achievement serves as proof of this. It has also allowed him to work with many people around the world to develop products and source ultra-rare and priceless OEM parts for the cars he works on. This is a very competitive upper hand that Polishchuk is able to lean on, as CAtuned Motorsports is often working on six to eight restorations at any given time. Additionally, this leads to CAtuned receiving more opportunities to develop components for multiple cars concurrently, without having to search far and wide for the chassis required for this engineering process.
Through CAtuned Motorsports, Polishchuk has been able to unite his passion of cars with a career and turn it into a business. The best part of it all is that he utilizes this business to educate customers and help bring their dreams to reality in the process. Some of the shop’s builds take a while to complete, since the cars that CAtuned Motorsports work on usually do not have off-the-shelf ready parts; Polishchuk and his customers tend to develop bonds that are much stronger than just shop owner and customer. These bonds are everlasting, with Polishchuk treating his customers like family. Some of these bonds are so strong that the customers trust him to make the eight-hour journey to Bimmerfest in southern California every year. That is a huge testament of the trust the shop has built over time.
Polishchuk says that there are always other avenues of automotive-related endeavors he’d like to see CAtuned Motorsports get involved with – the track scene, for one. One concept he has been experimenting with lately is the tasteful fusion of modern carbon fiber bits with older chassis vehicles. He is also working on other makes such as Alfa Romeo, Chevrolet, Porsche and Datsun in order to pursue his personal interests, and at the same time expand the business. As scatterbrained as this may seem, it’s not, as the goal remains the same – working on classic-era cars.
One could argue that CAtuned Motorsports was part of the earlier advocates of bagging classic BMW’s. Nowadays we’ve witnessed an influx of bagged cars and widebodies, but CAtuned Motorsports still tries to push boundaries such as throwing outrageous engines in unexpected classics.
Polishchuk doesn’t plan to stop working on cars and has said that the only way he would stop is if he stops having fun; given the sweet, sweet builds that roll out of CAtuned on a regular basis, we don’t see that being the case anytime soon.